The move also follows the revelation in April that its digital boss Simon Harrow had left and the departure of George Dymond, recruited as head of its online grocery service, in January.
Gibson would not be seeking re-election at next year’s annual general meeting for the company, said Morrisons in a statement issued on June 5.
The retailer’s board would conduct an orderly process to appoint a successor and in the meantime would welcome Gibson’s continuing support as it implemented its strategy. Further announcements would be made as appropriate, it added.
“This term will take me into my eighth year on Morrisons’ board, and this announcement gives the board time to conduct an orderly search for a new chairman and ensure a smooth transition,” said Gibson.
At the end of April, Roger Owen, a property director at Morrisons for 22 years until 2009, told The Yorkshire Post: “He [Gibson] should not be putting himself forward for election. If he does put himself forward, I hope sincerely that he is going to be voted off the board.”
Morrisons’ current woes
Gibson should take responsibility for Morrisons’ current woes and should step down, he said. He also said chief executive Dalton Philips was “out of his depth” and that the retailer was “a super tanker heading for an iceberg”.
He stressed his remarks were his own opinion and did not express the views of his former boss Sir Ken Morrison.
A Morrisons spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk his comments were “unhelpful and unwelcome”.
Earlier this year, Morrisons shocked City analysts by reporting a pre-tax loss of £176M for the year to February 2, compared with pre-tax profit of £879M the year before.